As performances go, usually there’s a discernible line between hit and miss, but when it comes to The New Vic’s production of Willy Russell’s phenomenally encapsulating, Educating Rita, the team hit the ball out of the park.
The show is humorous from the get go, and insightfuly witty throughout.
Immediately upon lights up, we’re introduced to Rita’s somewhat eccentric and deeply flawed mentor figure, alcoholic Open University tutor, Frank (Andrew Pollard).
After a brief problem with a jammed door, the lovely foul-mouthed chatterbox, Rita (Lauryn Redding) graces the threshold with her enigmatic presence and conducts the stage in a deeply engaging way.
In spite of being from entirely different worlds, hairdresser, Rita and lecturer, Frank, are likened to kindred spirits and intellectual equals in a more unconventional sense, proving to have more of an affinity with one another than you’d expect.
The two characters truly seem to get each other, in a sea of others who fail to understand them.
Educating Rita proves to be a snappy comedy with a deeply thoughtful story at its centre. The production is a socially-aware, observational piece which takes a deeper look at the educational system, class and cultural expectation, interwoven seamlessly into a well-rounded tale of woe and achievement.
The performance delivers on so many levels, satisfying the audience with engaging performances that quench our curiosity and leave us wanting more. You can’t help but wish to delve deeper into the characterisation and thought processes of both Rita and Frank.
Overall, Educating Rita is a must-see show, and I genuinely can’t recommend this enough; it’s funny, heartfelt and will have you feeling an incredible connection with the characters.
Truly charming and with a good helping of dark humour coupled fantastically with more morose tones such as alcoholism and control.
In accompaniment to that all, I also must admit that I probably learned more during this production about literature than I did in my time actually studying the subject at college.
So, if you fancy a night at the theatre along with a brief educational literature recap, that will really make you think, then Educating Rita is definitely the show for you.
Educating Rita is at The New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme until the 5 May 2018. For tickets visit www.newvictheatre.org.uk.